Cheerwine | Buy more than just Soda

Cheerwine Love
What is Cheerwine? It's not wine. It's Cheerwine: a red sparkling beverage that has been a North Carolina favorite since 1917. Colloquially known as "The nectar of Tarheels", or "liquid candy"; our fascination with sugared water spawned two soda companies within it's borders. One being Pepsi in 1898, known as "Brad's Drink", then later changing its name, and of course Cheerwine. I suppose now that I think about it, North Carolina may be single-handedly been responsible for obesity in this country. Even Coke was created by North Carolinian (by birth) James Pemberton. Perhaps we should consider changing the state mantra from "First in Flight" to "First in Fizz?"
World's best cherry drink?

Cheerwine however, compared to its competitors has remained uniquely "North Carolina". Though the company has recently began expanding, its fan base seems to remain southerners, or displaced counterparts thereof looking for the regional favorite. In fact it's one of the many sodas that require a straw, and our fascination with laughing at outsiders who stain their lips in their infancy of Cheerwine addiciton, could be the single most reason it's not found wider acceptance. This is what we call Cheerwine Initiation and I think Cheerwine has made a tragic mistake by not using it in marketing like the milk people have done with the milk mustache. Don't make the mistake of thinking because its cheery, red and makes you look pretty that the male persuasion doesn't drink it. No, just prior to blowing Cheerwine out my nose laughing, I was told this by a reader:

I challenge anyone to knock my Cheerwine out of my hand and learn just how feminine it makes me. -Robert Pipkin

Interestingly enough, the other day someone recommended a little bakery in Salisbury to check out. I've yet to go, but apparently they're known for two things. One is called a "ugly", and the other Cheerwine cake. While I'm certain in time I'll get a chance to go, I wondered, exactly what other Cheerwine products am I unaware of.  Here to find out, a lot:

The Cheerwine Cake
Made by the Apple Baking Company in Salisbury, North Carolina. The Cheerwine cake claims you can "have your cake and eat it too." At only $12 a cake, I can imagine this may be the perfect gift for any member of the Cheerwine Cult. I'm told you can also make your own home version with a box of Devil's Food Cake and 1 cup of Cheerwine.

What's next?
A Neese's Sausage doughnut?
Krispy Kreme Cheerwine Doughnuts
For Independence day, you can buy and freeze your years worth of Cheerwine filled doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. (Another native NC company.) The doughnut is actually left untouched, but they include a Cheerwine filling that you'll either love, or like me, wish it was the other way around. Reminded me a lot of cheery cordials. As with almost any niche doughnut that Krispy Kreme concocts there's always someone who tries to slice the doughnut in half, and shoves a buger in between, thus giving rise to the Cheerwine Burger.

Cheerwine Fudge
This chocolate, vanilla, and Cheerwine fudge from NC Fudge, looks out of this world to me. At $9.95, surely this is a reasonable amount of money to send happiness to your mailbox. Which gives me an idea. Think I could convince Alex down at Alex's Cheesecakes in Greeensboro to start selling Cheerwine Cheesecake?

Cheerwine BBQ
When Stokes Collins won an international BBQ contest with his Cheerwine BBQ sauce recipe, the first thing he did was run out and open his own restaurant. It's in South Carolina, and there's your can buy Cheerwine BBQ.  Don't feel like a drive, then you can order it through their website or make it yourself at home next time you cook pork, chicken or beef.:

BBQ sauce made with pop?
Ingredients for 32 ounces of Cheerwine BBQ Sauce:
1 12-ounce can of Cheerwine
10 oz of BBQ Sauce (your choice)
5 oz molasses
6 oz brown sugar
2 oz white distilled vinegar
1 oz liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Mix, boil, chill, and use or store.

Cheerwine Cupcakes
In Albermarle North Carolina, at a bakery named Bizzy Bee Cupcakes you can buy a Cheerwine cupcake. Consequentially you can also make your own Cheerwine frosting:

Cheerwine Frosting
1/3 cup Cheerwine
2-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup chopped nuts
½ cup margarine
¼ teaspoon almond extract

¼ cup cocoa

 Heat Cheerwine, margarine and cocoa together until mixture comes to a boil. Pour mixture over powdered sugar and blend until smooth. Stir in almond extract. Mix in chopped nuts. Cool slightly and spread over cupcakes.

Looks refreshing!
Cheerwine Float
If this wasn't obvious, the Cheerwine float is probably as common on southern front porches as rocking chairs. Floats gained popularity just as soda did during prohibition, but now you can drive to The Bluebird Diner in Mount Airy for your own fanciful dairy beverage. (I'm also told they are available at CookOut)

If you're into chocolate then there's a version of this float called the Chocolate Cheerwine Icecream Sundae Soda which I hear is out of this world. Simple add a ice-cold can of Cheerwine in a tall glass with a scoop of ice-cream and cover in Hershey's chocolate syrup, whip cream and a cheery on top.

Cheerwine Icecream
Soda Icecream
Known as Cheerwine Swirl, a combination of vanilla ice-cream and cheerwine inspired by the Cheerwine Float, in 2002, Cheerwine partnered with Belgian grocer, Food Lion to create Cheerwine Ice-Cream. This became so successful they expanded into Cheerwine Sherbet and Cheerwine ice-cream bars, however if you want the best incarnation of Cheerwine and ice-cream, then go visit our friends at "The Table at Crestwood", a Boone, NC restaurant that serves up home-made Cheerwine Ice cream.

Cheerwine Cocktail
Cheerwine mixed-drink
So this brings us to the Cheerwine Cocktail. The biggest misconception from people not familiar with what Cheerwine is, is that it's alcoholic. Again, refer back to prohibition to understand why Cheerwine may have adapted that to its name. Since it's no longer illegal to get a little tipsy, perhaps the most poetic way to consume this cherry bar beverage is to make it into a cocktail. Indeed we need not even leave the Liberty area to get one. Lucky 32 has been serving them up as a part of their southern menu for years. Want to make one at home, then try this:

Cheerwine Cocktail
2 oz gin
1 oz lime juice
Splash of soda water
Lime wedge for garnish

Fill glass with with ice, add gin and juice with a splash of soda water. Top with Cheerwine and garnish with lime.


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